Ki Tissa

The Jewish Chronicle - - JUDAISM -

“And he said, ‘Show me, pray, Your glory” Ex­o­dus 33:18

WE are barely out of Egypt be­fore ex­pe­ri­enc­ing our first ma­jor fall-out with God. Moses de­parts for forty days and nights only to be thrown out of God’s moun­tain-top “of­fice”, in­structed to re­turn to his peo­ple who have se­ri­ously trans­gressed.

They danced around, bowed be­fore and of­fered sac­ri­fices to a god out of gold which they had cre­ated. In their first in­stance of weak­ness, the peo­ple fell back on the fa­mil­iar — idol wor­ship.

God’s re­sponse is harsh, but there is a chance to grow from fail­ure. Moses ne­go­ti­ates the for­give­ness from God, and in a mo­ment of grace, asks Him for some­thing more. He asks God for a way in which He can be known.

God’s re­ply? You can know Me through My cre­ations. God’s master­piece was the uni­verse He cre­ated. Like any artist whose iden­tity can be dis­cov­ered through their cre­ativ­ity, God can be sim­i­larly dis­cov­ered. Artists do not de­velop prod­ucts that are util­i­tar­ian, but ones that in­clude el­e­ments of self-ex­pres­sion. The uni­verse, God’s opus, was God’s re­sponse to Moses’s re­quest to “show me Your ways”..

The ma­trix of cre­ation, in all its in­ter­re­lated de­tail, is how the shape­less, spir­i­tual God ex­presses His iden­tity to Moses and, ul­ti­mately, to all who wish to know Him.

The world is not ar­bi­trar­ily as­sem­bled by God to nur­ture hu­man life, nor merely a stage on which God in­ter­acts with hu­man­ity. Rather, the world is God’s per­sonal ex­pres­sion, with ev­ery leaf ex­press­ing the na­ture of His be­ing.

Ev­ery nat­u­ral and sci­en­tific law re­veals an­other di­men­sion of God’s na­ture, and within each dis­cov­ery we con­tinue to dis­cern more about the Power of Ex­is­tence run­ning through it.

Parashat Ki Tissa teaches that if we are to look for God, we look at His cre­ation. Through the art­work, we come to know the artist. RABBI JOSEPH DWECK

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